BRA’s dwarf Robert Reich has a new article in the Chicago Tribune (a Radical newspaper in the 1860s) which takes a swipe at White Southerners.
The article highlights the internal demographic transformation of the Republican Party which Occidental Dissent and Michael Lind alone have been drawing attention to in the blogosphere for over a year now.
Behind this shifting cast of characters who are competing for the Republican nomination is a much deeper transformation:
“The underlying conflict lies deep in the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old.
As political analyst Michael Lind has noted, today’s Tea Party is less an ideological movement than the latest incarnation of an angry white minority — predominantly Southern, mainly rural, largely male — that has repeatedly attacked American democracy in order to get its way.
It’s no coincidence that the states responsible for putting the most Tea Party representatives in the House are all former members of the Confederacy. Others are from border states with significant Southern populations and Southern ties.”
It all goes back to the Dixiecrat Revolt of 1948 and the demise of the Solid South. In the Jim Crow era, the Democratic Party was the home of virtually all White Southerners, but from the Truman administration to LBJ the White South was alienated by the national Democratic Party’s embrace of “civil rights” and forced integration.
“Through most of these years, though, the GOP managed to contain these no-compromise radicals. Most of the Southerners were still Democrats. The conservative mantle of the GOP remained in the West and Midwest — in the libertarian legacies of Ohio Sen. Robert A. Taft and Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, neither of whom was a barn-burner — while the epicenter of the party remained in New York and the East.
But after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as the South began its long shift toward the Republican Party, and New York and the East became ever more solidly Democratic, it was only a matter of time. The GOP’s dominant coalition of big business, Wall Street, and Midwest and Western libertarians was losing its grip.”
This is a crucial point.
Ever since 1965, White Southerners had been divided under BRA and there was a vibrant two-party system in Dixie which allowed the Democratic Party to scrape together just enough of the White vote to cobble together a national governing majority. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were able to win states like Georgia and West Virginia.
In the Jim Crow era, Whites were united as the Solid South in the Democratic Party, and exercised enormous leverage over the national party. After the South became disillusioned with LBJ, the North and West were still the dominant sections in the Republican Party, and the shift to the GOP led to the ascension of suburban moderates while rural Whites remained Democratic voters.
It has taken almost fifty years, but the shift away from the Democratic Party that began with the Dixiecrat Revolt of 1948 is almost complete, and the Solid South is reemerging as the dominant force in the Republican Party. This is what is driving the “craziness” in the Republican primaries. The Republican Party is being internally transformed into the old Democratic Party.
“America has had a long history of white Southern radicals who will stop at nothing to get their way — seceding from the Union in 1861, refusing to obey Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, shutting the government in 1995, and risking the full faith and credit of the United States in 2010.” . .
It’s also dangerous for America. We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing. Our democracy can’t work any other way.
The debt ceiling crisis was a neo-Confederate disunionist conspiracy by White Southern radicals to destroy American democracy.
“It is only natural that the former Confederacy should supply many of the spokesmen and much of the rhetoric for the anti-system politics of the right, as John Judis pointed out last January in a brilliant cover story (payment required) for the New Republic. The secession of the South was, after all, the ultimate in anti-system politics in America. From George Wallace in 1968 to Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry today, Southern demagogues have flourished in eras when Americans believe that, in Wallace’s words, there isn’t “a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties, or at least between the two party establishments.’
The Confederacy was the ultimate institutional expression of the rejection of the system. The Southern secessionists (especially those in South Carolina) were keenly aware that partisan politics is the enemy of the South and the agent of our destruction. The breakdown of this system (first with the Whig Party in 1852, next with the Democratic Party in 1860) was instrumental in precipitating secession and the creation of the Confederate government.
Then as now, the more chaos and instability within the two-party system, the more it is discredited and loses legitimacy in the eyes of the public, the better for separatists who yearn for the creation of an alternative national government to Washington.